Let’s meet some impressive women.
Jessica Marais. Courtney Cox. Gwen Stefani. Kate Beckinsale. Jennifer Garner. Emma Stone. Halle Berry. Kate Hudson. Kaley Cuoco. Jodi Gordon. Amy Poehler. Megan Fox. Melanie Griffiths. Kourtney Kardashian. Britney Spears. Charlize Theron. Mandy Moore.
What do they have in common?
Like millions of others around the world, in 2015 they had a break-up.
It was the year, according to certain overly-dramatic celebrity-watchers, that love DIED.
When celebrities break-up, several things happen. A statement is released. It will say, “After much soul-searching, we have decided to end our relationship. The decision is mutual, we remain great friends/are committed to co-parenting our children. And we thank you for respecting our privacy at this time.”
The second thing that happens is that no-one respects their privacy at this time. The story is still buffering when the speculation starts: It was the nanny. It was a drug habit. It was Miley Cyrus. Whatever. There will be no mercy shown in the dissection of the celebrity split. Paparazzi will multiply outside gated communities, co-stars will be pinned with a scarlet letter and magazine covers with the universal symbol for heartbreak – the torn photograph – will be hurtling to printers at breakneck speed.
The next thing that happens is that people around the world get sad. If we over-identify with celebrities in many ways, we certainly over-invest in their relationships. We look to them for our relationship #goals.
When Jessica Marais and James Stewart, actors whose relationship Australia thought was our business because we’d seen them falling in love on Packed To The Rafters, announced a break-up in May, people instantly started worrying about their infant daughter, Scout. She was so cute. They all looked so great together. How could they split when their daughter was so tiny?
When Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner released their marriage-ending statement, the world lost its collective shit. These two had been together for 10 years, had 3 kids, and she, at least, had always worn the mantel of being “just like us” – a mum who talked about the struggles of juggling work and home, showed her irritation with constantly being quizzed about a ‘baby belly’ and wore mum jeans at every possible opportunity. Was THAT why she and Ben couldn’t hack it? We wondered. Should we throw out our mum jeans?
Watch Ben Affleck stumble through the moment he told the truth about marriage in his Oscar acceptance speech:
We see ourselves in celebrity relationships. And reading between the lines of those obliquely-worded statements, we project our own insecurities:
He left her for someone younger.